East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Being alive


You wanna hear a horror story?
Fine, here goes: yesterday my mother came back from the dead.
It went like this…


The bank asked my father for a certificate – they asked him to provide legal proof that he’s alive.
It happens.
This being August, and administration offices still being in a state of summer torpor, my father downloaded a standard self-certification form from the web, filled in the blanks, and delivered it by had at the bank.
“Here’s my statement of being alive!”

The bank was not pleased.
Sure, self-certification is perfectly legal in Italy, and my father’s document was perfectly all right.
But basically our bank does not give a damn about what’s legal in Italy*.
After all, my father could be dead, fill the form and deliver it anyway – how could the bank be sure he is really, properly alive?
So no self-certification – they want the city-hall-issued, stamped and undersigned document, the one that costs 52 cents to get (silly) and requires 16 euros of legal stampings.

And so my father went to the city hall, and asked them for the document.
And there he found out he’s not a widower, after all.
No, because nobody had the time for filing the fact that his wife, my mother, died in 2007.
Oh, there’s been no end of death certificates, succession papers and taxes, and what not.
But they, you know, sort of forgot to update the registers.
C’mon, it happens, right?

But now this is pretty weird, because the official-issue certificate, the only one the banksters accept despite the national laws… well, it’s invalid.
Because yes, it states that my dad’s alive – and that’s true.
But it also states that my mom’s alive – and that’s false, alas.
Which makes the only valid document invalid.

Instantly, all involved bureaucrats go into “DO NOT COMPUTE!” mode, the loop overloading their ability to act and make decisions.
The bank in the meantime starts sniffing around with evident suspicion – how comes the old guy has problems demonstrating he’s alive? And how comes we think his wife’s dead but she’s not?

It took us a whole morning to put the old girl back to sleep.
Abraham van Helsing would have been faster.
And while now I can laugh on the whole matter, as things were happening this was extremely unpleasant.
It brought back memories, and old pains.
Not that banks and offices give a damn about it.
They basically don’t care for people anyway.

* Which is telling, don’t you think?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Being alive

  1. I am going through similar crap for a 2 cent savings account I had co-signed with my grandmother. The bank is asking me to close the account but requires the signature of my dead grandmother. When I objected that she’s been dead for 10 years they said that I must file for succession rights to the 2 cents.


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